I first noticed this past October some vague feelings of stress and anxiety creeping up on me. After ignoring them for a few days, the feelings gained strength to the point where I could no longer deny them. After years of strong faith and peace, to be facing my old nemesis again was an uncomfortable and unexpected place to find myself in.
I struggled to figure out what was wrong with me, and I felt guilty for even feeling this way. On a few particularly bad days, I even dealt with a panic attack. Why was this happening? I’ve worked through times of intense stress in my life before, especially after the death of one of my children, and this certainly couldn’t be as terrible as that time. More than anything, I wanted to feel like my normal, upbeat self again. I remember asking God, “Could you bring back my peace quickly, please, God, without a lot of angst?” Hmm. Well, here’s what I’ve learned so far.
As I looked over the last few years, I realized I had more than a few stress factors and uncertainties that had been accumulating in my life.
- My family had navigated through my mom’s 5-year-long illness. My sisters and I were fortunate to be able to help my dad care for her in their home with the help of family and other caregivers, but it was a bittersweet time of blessings and constant obstacles, resulting in a long good-bye and a difficult loss. Anyone who has been a caregiver for a loved one understands the challenges and heartbreak.
- Next, I had been dealing with, or rather not dealing with an ongoing business situation, and I just let it go on and on for months without facing it. Stuffing something is not a healthy way to live. As we all probably know, stuffing something means that it will pop up, and usually not it a good way.
- Add to that, a lot of uncertainty in my future. My husband recently quit his job, and we are putting in place some serious changes so that he can pursue a dream of bicycling to Alaska. This means that my normal day-to-day life will look very different. It’s a big change as I am taking on lots of new responsibilities.
- My own personality traits and tendencies. If you know anything about the Enneagram, I am a 6 on the Enneagram. A 6’s core weakness is anxiety. As I reflected on my life, I realized how true this is. Even from my early memories, worry has always been my go-to emotion. God has brought much healing in my life already, but at this season, the stress had piled up and felt overwhelming, and I found myself in an unhealthy cycle of worry.
How About You?
You may find yourself there as well. Over the last few months, I have talked to so many people who are struggling with stress and anxiety. Here are some of the stresses I’ve heard from others:
- Marital issues
- Health problems
- Financial problems
- Job stresses
- Worries about children
- Fear about the Coronavirus
Honestly, the list could go on and on. My goal with all this is not to make you feel worse, but to let you know you’re not the only one feeling this way and to give you some resources on how to work through the stress.
Although we will never be able to escape stressful situations in life, we can change how we respond to stress. I’ve made a lot of progress, but will probably always have to be aware of this tendency.
Next Post: Ideas for Managing Stress
I have a list of resources that I have almost finished and will share yet this week in another post. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of any kind. I am just sharing my own experiences, believing that God will use them to encourage someone else.
Please know that I would be happy to pray for you if you leave me a comment so that I can respond back. If you sign up for my mailing list, you will get an email when the next blog is released.
May God bless and heal you as you work through stress and anxiety issues! I’ll leave you with this favorite scripture from Lamentations 3:22-24 AMP to meditate on:
It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion and my inheritance, says my soul; Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.’